The Edmond Sun

Addiction

May 22, 2009

Parent offers other parents sage advice

EDMOND — If parents need advice on how to talk about drugs with their children they can get it from someone who has been there.

Pat Nichols, founder of the Edmond chapter of Parents Helping Parents, said he learned a great deal from his experiences with his son’s issues with alcohol and drugs.

His son was receiving marijuana from a friend whose father grew it on a farm. It took about seven years before his son finally “snapped” and started getting help and counseling, Nichols said.

Parents might do the “sex talk,” but they need to have the same talk with their children about drugs and alcohol, Nichols said.

“We need to go ahead and show the facts about abuse to children and say, ‘I love you and I trust and I don’t want you to think for one minute that I don’t, but I’m concerned about these types of statistics,’” Nichols said.

Wynema Ra, executive director for the Norman Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center, is a licensed professional counselor and licensed alcohol and drug counselor for the state of Oklahoma.

Ra said parents need to educate themselves about substance abuse and addiction and should start talking to their children about related issues as soon as they are able to understand.

Through a variety of media children are exposed to advertising messages about alcohol and tobacco.

“We have to let them know that these are the consequences if you drink or smoke,” Ra said.

Nichols said parents need to express that they understand sometimes when youth get involved with their peers things can sometimes break down.

Parents need to set boundaries out of love and understanding, he said. By doing that, with people receiving the proper understanding and education, they can put the proper systems in place to help their child.

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